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José María Aguilera
Teaching with ICT:
What does it mean?
”From e-mail to super web tools!”
Supported by EU Commission
IPM TooIs, Comenius 2.1 project
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1. Proposals for the use of online tools................................... 7
a) Levels of use of online tools ................................................. 8
b) Teacher’s abilities................................................................. 9
c) Analysis and examples of the use of online tools ................ 12
I. Information search................................................... 13
II. Interpersonal exchanges ......................................... 17
III. Problem solving projects ........................................ 30
d) Experiences using online tools ........................................... 32
e) An experience in collaborative working environments........ 33
f) Using an eJournal................................................................. 36
g) Videoconferencing .............................................................. 39
h) Using WebQuest ................................................................ 41
2. Conclusions. ........................................................................ 43
3. Bibliography......................................................................... 44
José María Aguilera
Training and Research Centre, A Coruña
This document is conceived with the aim of being a support for teachers
interested in education and in the world of ICT. It originated from conversations and
work developed during the development of the Comenius Project IPM tools (Finding
Innovative Pedagogical Methods to Integrate Web-Based Tools Into Teaching And
Learning). Nº: 94248-CP-1-2001-1-FI-COMENIUS-C21(http://ipmtools.eduprojects.net/).
It is dedicated to the pre-school, primary and secondary school teachers who took part
in innovative projects using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In this
document framework for analysis is included, as well as examples and commentaries of
experiences carried out by a group of Spanish teachers which believe that this effort can
help us to continue to go deeper into what we do, how we do it, and what are we
working for in particular educational projects.
Our efforts were focussed on those kinds of educational project proposals that
use Internet tools; referring to search tools, communication tools, and information
support tools. Each of them enables, strengthens and complements the development of
a platform such as e-Journal, thereby demonstrating its convenience in a project with
The underlying concept that informs this work assumes that ICTs cannot be
understood simply as an add-on resource, but that they assume a new vision
educational activity that has to be analysed.
The reasons why ICTs require a change of mindset arise from the modifications
that are taking place in social and economic environments that can be summarized as
having ten basic features:
1. Hyperinformation. A crushing amount of data
2. Omnipresence. They are everywhere
3. Irradiation. Geographic barriers vanish
4. Speed. Communication has become immediate
5. Multilateralness and centrality: Worldwide web and networks fed only by
servers. Connections are made inside and outside of the computer classroom
6. Interactivity and unilateralness: Two complementary procedures
7. Inequality. Techno-rich vs. Techno-poor.
8. Heterogeneity. We are so many users as persons.
9. Disorientation. We have lost stable points of reference.
10. Passiveness. Passive citizens consumed by a culture of spectacle.
From an educational approach these social conditions have the affect that:
x Educational institutions are not a preferential place for learning anymore.
x Knowledge has been multiplied.
x Learning to learn has become the main value of the academic institution
x We are not in front of an alternative possibility, but in front of an unquestionable
However, we have to be aware that innovation of pedagogic practices and the
adjustment of academic systems into an academic pattern supported by digital
technologies is, and will be, a slow process, up and down, with forward and backward
movements. The proper execution of this means, amongst other measures, to carry out
enormous economic investments towards the endowment of technological resources
for schools and the foundation of an electronic education network; to develop training
plans for teachers and advice plans for schools referring to the use of ICTs with
educational aims; envisage educational institutions as cultural instances integrated in
the community where they belong, and to provide the community with available
technologic resources; design and develop projects and experiences of virtual learning
supported by the use of electronic networks and foment the building of learning virtual
communities; the foundation of websites and online materials, so they can be used and
shared by different institutions and classrooms. The challenge of the future is the need
for academic centres not only to innovate their technology but also their ideologies and
pedagogic practices. This will mean modifying the structures for learning entirely:
changes in the role of teachers, changes of learning procedure and activities of pupils,
changes in the organization of the classroom, changes in the possibilities of
Nowadays, twenty years later, we have are certain about one thing: ICTs in
teaching do not perform magical results. Any teacher, just by introducing PCs into
his/her teaching, cannot consider that automatically they will have the outcome that
his/her pupils will learn more, or better, nor can they be considered incentives to
learning. These are merely utopian visions or blind pedagogic faith about the ability of
digital machines and they have no a rational foundation. Today, we know that PCs are
objects or tools that have pedagogic possibilities depending on the kind of
methodological activities or decisions carried out by teachers. What is outstanding for
pedagogic innovation of teaching practice, thus, are the developed learning exposition
and method, and the learning process fomented by that method in the pupils, not the
features of the technology that has been used.
In this work, we have included an analysis of the possibilities of using the kinds
of tools we find in online
environments. There, we have
theoretical and practical
argumentations about such tools
from a didactic point of view, that
is to say, from the perspective of
guiding the learning practice.
Finally, we would like to
point out that we have added
reports of experiences carried out personally by different teachers of Spain. Experiences
that are in continuous process of development, that result in the recognition of the
problems and the conflicts of the practice with using these tools. We feel that they
provide a valuable source of material that can be considered as a "case study" in
training proposals in the sense that they emerge from actual schools realities.
The knowledge and analysis of other professionals are always invaluable and
clears the way for reflecting and solving the problems we could face. This report can be
considered like a "mirror" in which we look at ourselves and visualize which are our
possibilities, which questions that I find there can be useful for my practice, which ones
have I can dismiss, and finally, an opportunity for professional development.
We would like to express our gratitude to the teaching staff that has enabled this
learning possibility. We hope that this project can be useful for work in schools and can
also contribute to their improvement.
Adriana Gewerc Barujel
University of Santiago de Compostela
When we talk about learning environments and online learning or web
instruction, the characteristics and use of resources of the “WWW” are alluded to in
order to create a framework whereby students feel they are being helped in their
process using all the teaching and learning tools available on the net.
We are talking about information searching tools (search engines), collaborative
communication tools (chats, e-mails, discussion forums, distribution tables,
videoconferences and tools that enable the support of information through hypermedia
websites (electronic magazines, weblogs, webquest, simulations, webcams, etc…).
Perhaps, the most interesting thing is the possibility of integrating them in a proposal
aimed at constructivist learning by pupils.
More and more Internet is a context where there are interactions which combine
and join inquiry, communication, building and expression activities. More and more, the
network is defined as a public space, a place where people meet for discussing as it was
done in the Agora of former Greece or like the councils of contemporary municipalities. It
is described as a cooperative environment where researchers and inventors share ideas,
co-build new concepts and explanations and design new products; and it is also like one
of the main motors of global context growing which are only possible in this environment,
not as a substitute of face to face real interaction but as something different with singular
features and evident advantages (and disadvantages) of that interaction (Burbules y
Proposals for the use of online tools
a. Levels of use of online tools
Harmon and Jones
explain different levels of useof Internet in academic
institutions, from level 0, which implies not to use it, never, under any circumstance, to
the complete use through online teaching, where all curriculum content is developed
through this means. Based in his work, we have incorporated elements that are
considered relevant to our environment in primary and secondary schools. A synthesis
of his proposal can be viewed in the following table:
x No web use
It means not to use the web
Level 1: Basic
x Information support about teaching
Teacher provides quite stable information to
students. Inserts items in a website, like a
glossary, the course programme or contact
information. This kind of information is easily
constructed by the teacher, demands little
maintenance and a takes a short time.
Level 2: Support
x Supplementary support for teaching
x Academic information
x Information searches
Teacher provides information about course
contents to students. The classic example could be
a power-point presentation saved as a HTML
document made available on the web. It has
pupils using the web as a source of information in
order to develop some work in the classroom.
Level 3: Essential
x Web is essential
x Information support
x Information search
x E-mail communication
Student cannot be a productive member of his/her
classroom without regular access to the course
web. E-mail is used for communicating with the
Level 4: Communal
x Online contents
x Information searches
x Pupils producing contents
x Multidirectional communication: (chats,
The lessons are developed both in face to face and
online learning environments. The course contents
are available online or in the conventional lesson.
The ideal thing would be that students produce the
majority of the contents by themselves.
Communications tools are used to share
information about the whole student body (chats,
forums, tables…) Cooperative work tools are used.
Level 5: Immersion
x Simulation software
x Communication tools
x Collaborative tools
All the course contents and the interactions are
online. It is not different from the conventional idea
of e-learning. But, in this level we can find
sophisticated learning environments designed from
a constructivist point of view.
Levels of use of WWW in teaching and learning.
Mentioned by (Lowther, Jones y Plants, 2000)
This classification of levels is arbitrary; we don’t in any way intend that it be read
in a strict manner, on the contrary, we expect to encounter a combination of possibilities
in its application. But it indicates a process that, to some extent, is present in the different
experiences that we can examine. It appears it presents a logical process of approach on
the part of teachers to use tools that entail:
1. A place where it is possible that pupils accede to some presented information,
thus, we find a lot of teachers and schools that have their websites where they
have put up data about the organization. This way, users can get them more
2. A place to find information about curriculum contents, share experiences and
ideas and discuss some topics, exchange any kind of information, etc.
It is a process that demands information about some basic questions, as we will
see in the following section, until we achieve reliance and maturation with the tool
that can be used to its fullest advantages.
b. Teacher´s abilities.
Teachers need to develop specialized abilities to have effective management of
Internet as a tool. It is not enough just to know how to access it. According to Harmon
(1999), teacher should basically know what is HTML and some tools for creating
information. It is very important to know how some sites are developed. This
understanding is useful in the planning aimed to the proper use of PCs by the students.
He/she needs to be familiar with the functions of the computer, and it demands the
abilities exposed in the following table to get the technologic literacy for the information
search (Lowther et al., 2000).
Abilities and explanation Foundations
An approach to Internet and its beginning
Internet has a particular history. Teachers need
understand, not in a technical level, the Internet
infrastructure and its culture.
Reading a web address
How to identify a personal server and a domain.
Being able to read a web address is a good tool for
the understanding of the features of the site. To
identify the names of the domains means
knowledge of entities. This information is useful for
research and also is useful when the websites are
created. To know that “/” leads to a file can be very
important in the development of materials carried
out later on
Knowledge about how to use your search engine
and which are its functions.
A browser has important tools; to know them gives
the possibility of preparing the lessons much better
when using them.
Finding and using search tools and knowing their
possibilities and limits.
Internet can simplify the search for information.
According to its effective use it is important that
teachers know, understand, and use Boolean
operators in order to help in that search. Teachers
have to understand how to search in Internet and
how to help their students to initiate and end the
To evaluate the information
Making estimated decisions about information
This is an ability complicated to teach. Teachers
have to be aware of false information and they have
to be prepared to carefully check the information
before using it. The interesting thing is to help the
pupils when they make decisions so that they check
and select the information they consider suitable.
Selecting interesting websites to get them
whenever you want.
Favourite’s file has to be organized and classified.
To learn to classify and organize the different sites
helps in further information searches. Teachers can
classify their favourites by means of curriculum,
level or specific needs of the students group.
To download information
How to move a file from the server to the PC
Technically it is not hard to download information
from the web. But teachers need to know the
dangers of downloading from unknown sites and
also to know how to download images and texts that
are not marked as such.
Abilities for the search of digitalized information
Now the process can not conclude at this point, since the teachers need to understand
curriculum contexts of those abilities, the contents in which it is suitable to use them, in
which situations and which learning proposals are demanded by the pupil. Therefore, it
is necessary to move forward from technologic literacy to a training that enables the
teachers to make decisions of a curriculum design incorporating the proposals of new
technologies. In that sense we have the following table, which proposes which are the
most outstanding questions: Those in which teachers have to be trained to acquire the
abilities in a technological context.
Further on technologic literacy
x Technologic literacy (how to operate with a
x Technologic ability (how to use the PC as a
learning and teaching tool)
To understand the connection between PC´s
functions and pupil’s learning.
x Identification of the main functions of the PC
(organization, computation, building of tables,
graphics, images, searches, etc.)
x Connection of functions with the objectives
pursued for the pupils
x Use of the function to process the information
and, this way, to increase the learning.
To understand when and how to develop
environments for an effective technologic use.
x To establish when it is suitable to integrate
x To establish the proper methods for integration.
x To establish how to produce a culture in the
classroom which is positive in the achievement
of the attitude and cognitive objectives.
Technologic abilities for learning (Lowther et al., 2000)
It means, going beyond technologic literacy, implies that teachers have
some criteria in deciding when it is suitable to use technology and which technology is
proper at every moment, knowing deeply the abilities and weaknesses of each one and,
therefore, integrating different resources. This demands a deep analysis according to the
proposed aims, the present contents, and the methodologies that will enable pupils to
interact with those contents.
In order to build environments where learning is being developed, where the
most important thing is the purpose of learning above the purpose of getting approval, it
is necessary to get a sensible understanding of the meaning of current knowledge in
regard to the social reality where we live and take charge of generation gaps.
c. Analysis and examples of the use of online tools.
Bitter and Pierson (2002) suggest a range of questions that teacher must
consider when they design their teaching with Internet; we provide their proposal:
Which is the suggested educational objective for my pupils?
Considering the exposed objectives and contents, is it advisable to use
text or electronic resources?
Am I trying to carry out my educational objectives according to an
accepted technology or am I using those tools to achieve more
effectiveness in my objectives?
Comparing with other tools, is the electronic tool more useful to achieve
Can objectives be improved using Internet more than if we use
Is Internet an effective way to achieve wide educational goals or is it a
way to develop activities for the use of this concrete tool?
Questions to be considered when learning is designed with Internet resources.
The proposal claims for the meditation about the tools´ use examining what it
means and its possibilities, not as an aim in itself. According to Adell (1998), teaching
that use Internet tools can be classified by:
x Information search
x Interpersonal exchanges
x Projects that solve problems
That is to say, a classification developed according to the possibilities of the
environment (as an information bank and as a means of communication). Though for the
analysis we will attend to each one individually, it is important to remark that the real
value lies in their complementariness, the ability of communication and, at the same
time, work with information that could be handled to carry out work in a collaborative
I. Information search
The information search process is part of the basic abilities needed for the work
with problem solving projects. We have referred to the wide possibilities of Internet in that
respect and the abilities needed to take advantage of this service. To this effect it is very
interesting to have access to information sources that are not locally available or is
considered under constant change. Information is obtained by means of distant
databases, through e-mail or conferencing. That means the possibility of giving a more
extended curriculum, not a single and lineal one. Insofar as no one pupil will have access
to the same information, it will be possible to develop complementary and contrastive
Anyway, it is important to explain that students have access to materials that,
otherwise, wouldn’t be available. Libraries of Congress or another public institutions or
experts can provide firsthand information. Pupils can pose questions directly to scientists
or search in their database in order to find answers for these questions. Moreover, we
find information often difficult to encounter in a book or an encyclopaedia. In interactive
audio, video and web components they find a range of information suitable to different
learning styles. Not only they can read about the information but, at the same time, they
can watch a video that exemplifies or explains some version of it.
It is important to be aware of the objectives that are pursued in order that the use
of Internet as an information search resource does not result in being just a complement
of what we have done until now and, thus, it does not replace the textbook without more
ado. It is important that it really implies an integration of pupils in the knowledge society.
If we are thinking about a school where people learn to gather data, Internet can
be an innovation taking into account that children would be enthusiastic using the PCs
the first day but, in a short time, the amount of information becomse such a breadth that
it becomes exhausting and, so, it is not suitable for the achievement of learning.
Teaching with the foundation of a textbook is different from teaching with an electronic
library. The concept of learning also changes; let’s see some differences in the following
Textbook Electronic library
To manage the content of the textbook
To understand how it is found, to retrieve and
understand the material found there and the
matters that each one considers relevant.
They learn the themes of the exam
To deal with different sources to get conclusions
looking for materials which lead to the
understanding of the subject matter.
Resources are previously analysed and evaluated
Resources are equally up to teachers and pupils.
Comparison between teaching with textbook and electronic library.
In the same way that it is important that pupils learn to search information in a
wordbook or encyclopaedia, it is important that they learn how to search information in
Internet, which are the main abilities demanded for managing the navigation context.
Therefore, it is important that pupils develop abilities for:
o Navigation in the web using the web navigator tools and the links
o To join and express both orally and written form the discoveries through
navigation and the concepts we are searching.
o To read the content of a website in order to make decisions about the
search of information in the site.
o To detect who is the author of a site and who promotes it.
o To explain orally and in writing the how a site is constructed for us
o To know the difference between a website and a web page
o To detect the differences between information found in a web and that of
a textbook and evaluate the terms where it is advisable to use one or
o To evaluate a website according to different criteria.
o To evaluate different textbooks and compare them with the evaluation of
o To join search resources with concepts and strategies
o Knowledge of key concepts for the development of searches
Pupils will be able to learn about and analyse their search strategies. One of the
most important abilities concerning Internet is the design of the search process, it means,
to consider which is the best way to find the information or how can we get the
information that we need in an extended way.
When students are working with lesson content it is important to remind them of
the need to consider how to present the search themes and the search tools in order to
find the best results. We have also to remind them of the need to analyse the search
results in order to find resources that meet their research requirements.
All this demands a school that supports research and investigation where
memorizing and repetition are not essential aspects: A school that looks for new ways for
helping pupils in the search for knowledge, a school that considers information as a
means, not as an end in itself.
To be able to search properly, it is necessary that students know which concepts
are fundamental and which are secondary in regard to the subject that is being
developed. For example:
x Making graphics of where the websites were found and the details of
searches are shown.
x Comparing the graphics done by each group.
x Establishing selection criteria for the sites
x Detecting the differences among the search tools and knowing how to use
Boolean operators to develop the most effective search strategies.
In order to succeed in searches students have to obtain abilities for the
development of search strategies and understand how the different tools work. Since
they already work with Boolean search methods they have to work with a wider range of
possibilities (with images, texts and sound) and they have better opportunities to
understand the logic in relation to techniques. The main goal is to understand the logic
of searching tools and the differences between them.
It is obvious than the use of the WWW has had a prevalent change in primary
schools. However, though the effect is evident, it is still not included in the classroom and
our educational system needs to embrace different approaches to acquire the benefits.
Due to the amount of information that Internet users encounter, we know that
users who cannot make differences between useful, credible and interesting things will
become exhausted. Therefore we can deduce that the development of a critical ability to
read information in a selective way, evaluate and question it is one of the main
educational challenges caused by these new technologies. Burbules and Torres (2001)
have called it hyperreading, it is not just a question of finding and reading what we find,
but it is a question of learning to connect findings, questioning the links provided and
questioning about silences or absences, that is to say, which things or persons are not
This leads us to the problem of credibility in the information we find. To evaluate
credibility has an internal and an external face. The internal one, consists in considering
inherent elements, the external one consists in judging (indirectly) the elements around,
including associations or references to them, which implies to have knowledge about the
subject theme. Another dimension of credibility has to do with links from and towards a
resource: when someone provides a link to another or even he/she mentions it, there we
have a reciprocal transfer of credibility. This network is called distributed credibility.
The analysis and the obtaining of credibility shows that referring to access there
is a continual exchange of activity and passivity. Some just navigate, looking, nosing
around, or exploring at random. The critical reader of information, a hyperreader, has
more active questions about what he finds and what he does not find; he makes
comparisons continuously and he has opinions about credibility; he goes beyond what he
finds out casually, and he gets to what is hidden or implicit behind appearances.
II. Interpersonal exchanges
The communication possibilities provided by Internet can be classified as being
synchronous (chats, videoconferences), and asynchronous (forums, e-mails, distribution
lists). In this work it is interesting to move to a more concrete level of intention to see how
it is possible to use resources in the context of learning situations, for the learning of
concepts, procedures and attitudes. In this sense, meetings can be established on a one
to one, one to many, or many to many, basis, as we see further in the following table:
Chat Discussion forum
Level interpersonal group group hybrid
multilogue monologue, discussion
many or just
many (or one) many
Receivers one-many many many or one many
one to one
one to many
server (channel) mail server
Time asynchronous asynchronous asynchronous asynchronous
multiple reception multiple reception
Visibility private private private/public public
------ reactive -----
Metaphor mail mail room/conversation discussion/conversation
Different kinds of electronic communication (Patterson, 1996)
E-mail, discussion forums and chats provide teachers with the possibility of
communicating to face common problems, breaking with the isolation that has typically
defined the profession. Thorough these tools it is possible to design as teamwork or to
send, at the same time, a program to every teacher of the school. Meetings, publications
and research can be arranged by means of e-mail and there is no need for face-to-face
meetings. Thus, somehow, the kind of work developed until that moment is modified. It
is amazing, and maybe it will change the isolation paradigm, the active presence of
teachers in specialized discussion forums where they give their opinions, problems and
In teaching proposals the means of communication provided by Internet enables
pupils to take part in projects where partners are instructors, come into contact with
experts and pose questions firsthand. Students, experts and teachers can work
altogether designing a project, for example the work carried out by NASA experts with
several schools of The United States, (Bitter and Pierson, 2002). The Electronic
Emissary Project uses online facilitators which act as mediators between classrooms and
experts, working as a team to develop work suitable to curriculum objectives, offering
bridges between experts and younger pupils.
Many of the collaborative projects carried out by pupils in schools that have
email, use it tool to for problem solving. Students can interact with other students of
different courses. Thereby, communication between students of other schools, other
communities or countries, can be achieved in order to acquire and exchange information
about topics relevant to those communities or other specific problems. There are a lot of
interchange projects between schools, especially for the learning of foreign languages.
Let’s see now, which possibilities of use and features, has each tool when they are to be
used in a learning context.
E-mail is, as we have referred before, an asynchronous form of electronic
communication that connects people almost with the velocity of telephone and at a low
cost. Its use in an educational environment is based on communication theory and in
every possibility that this resource can give in the language area in order to analyse an
epistolary discourse with these features. E-mail is considered a medium of
communication that makes communication easier to accomplish and allows for the
expression of senses, since it is not so forced like face-to-face communication. There is
abundant of research that demonstrates that people develop relationships more easily
and with more frequency than in conventional communication and, at the same time,
they show a greater range of connexion between them, with different levels of
profoundness. Therefore, we cannot demean either the input of this use tool or its use in
Chat opens the door to a new way of communication in real time with people that take
part in a community. This gives us the opportunity to construct learning, sharing it with
people that can be at that moment in different parts of the world. This means that we
must take advantage of time and organize it so that it can be a useful tool in the training
process of a classroom setting. Most of our pupils (children or adolescents) use chat as a
way of communication. To know its features will allow us to know them a little more.
However, it is a tool that is not very often used in conventional educational contexts,
maybe it is influenced by its ludic feature or by what has said about it, but it is important
to defence the argument that it allows to build and maintain interactive social links
presented as a virtual community, and before discarding it, we must know its features,
limits and possibilities to think about its potential in the educational context.
x Users make themselves known with ‘nicks’ or nicknames.
x Interaction is carried out in a textual form
x It is anonymous, most information can be manipulated
x Interaction occurs in areas called channels and rooms in channels.
x Users can be dispersed with regard to their geographic allocation but they
can converge through dialogue
x Paragraphs are limited to four text lines in each entry.
x Messages can be stored or archived, in the e-mail are filed automatically.
x Messages, which are created automatically by the system, are inserted in
the messages sent by users, building, thus, a common area where the text
from different interaction is generated.
x Due to problems in the Net, a time lapse, more or less wide between the
sending of a message and the reception of its answer, could exist.
x Everybody can read messages sent by the rest of users, unless a private
interaction area has been built.
x Users can participate in a lot of public interaction
Why users connect more and more to chats?
Reduction of contextual wealth in front of
conversation interchanges (absence of hearing and
visual channel in the written text)
Absence of indicators of intention in the
Time gap between speaking and writing.
Absence of references in users
Absence of information about the converser activity
Profusion of useless texts (abundance of greetings,
corrections and explanations),
Absence of a historical record in the conversation
Feeling of being in a protected space where you
can express your emotions
Possibility of disconnecting of the, so often tedious,
Ability for playing with different identities
To get in contact with people from another
geographic place at a low cost.
To meet people with common hobbies.
Interchange information in real time
To discuss in real time with people interested in the
same theme or problem
Use in the educational context
Due to its spontaneity, it is a proper space for the flow of ideas and the beginning
of a common project to solve certain questions or to explain a question that demands the
input of different examples, or a game of questions and answers. It is a proper place for
the approach to diverse themes that later are discussed in other communicating areas or
in the same materials. The diversity of chat depends on the way it is proposed, the
nature of the person who is leading it, the organization, the number of members, the
It is a tool that supplies face-to-face contact, some people miss corporal input of
the oral language, since it is based just in textual features. However, with the use of
chats by means of onomatopoeias or “emoticons” that show the purpose of the speaker
or the possibilities for expressing gestures and emotions, we can express the affections
and form a closer communication. We consider that expressiveness is essential in the
message, to remark aspects of affection in order to build a link in the group, a closer
treatment to give a human dimension to conversations.
Due to the features of the chat in the school context, it is important that teachers
make a detailed design of it and, even though its main feature is spontaneity in the
conversation, this must be used with well-defined goals, like any teaching project.
Thus, in the first place, and taking into account the design with electronic tools, it
is important to decide whether the use of chat is pertinent or we must choose another
communication tool. Amongst other possibilities, synchronous conversation is important
x Activity demands the conversation of the members of a group to get
agreements and it is not possible because of geographic distances.
x When the group is not very large (6 or 8 persons could be the right
number of persons to take part in a chat easily)
x When it is about getting in contact with experts and chat provides
conversation at a lower cost
x To analyse some group conflict (and the group is geographic distant)
x To work with attitude contents which demand the spontaneity of
Anyway, it is important that the teacher think about which is his/her task (before,
during and when the chat finishes) once the need of use is defined.
Like any proposal, it needs a definition of objectives that sustain the reason of
using a tool and, at the same time, the conduct required by pupil during the process. For
The planning of the chat implies that it be a necessary tool in a project,
moreover, that pupils must know clearly its function and what is required of them with
regard to the abilities that are at play. This includes the need that both pupils and
teachers know deeply the tool and all its technical possibilities (to use files, to use
microphones and webcams, to record conversations, to converse in private with some
members of the group, etc.)
Thus, at the planning moment, it will be decided just what kind of chat is going to
take place, the number of participants, the necessary prior conditions (reading a text
before discussing about it, preparing questions when it is an interview to an expert, etc.)
and the possibility of using a group method in the course of the chat, like Phillips 66 or
Brainstorming, for example. It is also important to prepare various alternative proposals
for the session.
During the chat, teacher takes on the role of group coordinator. Coordination is
associated with: dynamism, moderation, organization, communication, timing, motivation,
spontaneity, and observation of the group process. But, sometimes, it is also associated
with chaos, lack of control, waste of time, crossing of themes. To coordinate means in
order to put things in common it is necessary to develop a control of the tool, follow the
course of the theme, listen to everyone and write with fluency and speed. It also means
to acknowledge that every input is important for the group.
x To break the isolation allowing the group sense
x To build knowledge starting from choices, ideas, representations
of another people
x To compare points of view about a topic
x To form a group for virtual learning
x To establish an information exchange in real time
x To develop abilities in order to make questions about a theme
x To compare oral and written language
At this point the following proposals can be analysed.
- To organize the contribution according to the objective
- To connect with readings made with other tools
- To help and stimulate along the lines of the contributions.
- To analyse continuously the assumed roles of the group members.
- To evaluate the group contribution process according to the use of these
- To contribute continuously incentives. To establish activities that help to
solve the problems proposed by the group, to be aware and to listen every
contribution. To help to consider the themes which are being developed.
After the chat, the teacher will be able to analyse the conversation by evaluating
group contributions and the overall results of the chat activity in terms of content.
Furthermore, it would be useful to attempt a synthesis of the activity and to make take
that up with the pupils using selections from the chat archives, or better, to propose that
pupils make their own synthesis, diagrams, conceptual maps, etc of the process that
Suggestions to facilitate the use
x To write little and concisely
x Not to write ‘beating about the bush’.
x To read the intervention of colleagues so that we do not loose the thread
of the conversation
x Not to mix themes so that confusion results
x To make every effort not to delay your intervention since that causes
x If you are occupied with another matter during the conversation, please
convey it so that your colleagues know the reason for your absence
Many chats propose norms of use, it would be important to share them with students, for
x To greet the rest of users before starting the session helps to create a
more empathic climate between the members.
x To take part in the conversation that is being developed. In a means
such as this, that is the only way to indicate that one is paying attention.
x Let the conversation flow and to not answer bitterly.
x To be collaborative in any expressed proposal
x Not to insult or to be disrespectful
x To keep a friendly tone
x To avoid unpleasant incidents or any kind of xenophobe, violent or
offensive expression which could affect the rest of participants.
Examples of use
Chats provide a lot of possibilities for language learning, its grammar and
orthography. Though there is a lot of criticism of the language uses in electronic means
(chats mobile messages, e-mails) it is possible to transform them into a pretext to write
properly and express by mean of ideas or images with a communicative intention.
An interesting resource for the use of chat in teaching is the possibility that pupils
have for conversations in real time with the author of a book, about the reading of the
reference text, making questions for an interview, etc.
Another interesting experience is carried out in the NASA web, where teachers,
students and parents are invited to register so that they participate in conversations with
NASA employees in order to talk about various aspects of their job. Students chat with
engineers, pilots, astronauts and researchers.
One of the main criticisms of chats points to the inherent difficulties of written
expression that demands the need for speed writing with and so pupils will tend to write
with shorten words or with more orthographic mistakes than they would normally.
Students must admit that chat is a communication means that is not suitable for
all the situations. Just in the moment when we have more communication possibilities, it
is necessary to discern when it is fitting to use one or the other means depending on the
context and the situation.
They can also use chats transcriptions, as a tool to discuss about
communication, writing styles, grammar or language. In http://:www.yahooligans.com we
can find registers of chat sessions that had been made by celebrities from different fields,
for example The Backstreet Boys. To read conversations of these personalities can be
an interesting tool to talk about communication, the proper way of communication or
It is possible to work with students, read transcriptions and analyse with them the
differences between a chat and the same conversation in person, by telephone or in a
letter. Students can be asked to repeat the same conversation using different media.
Once the chat session has taken place by the students, it can be recorded or printed so
that we can analyse together the expression or orthographic mistakes they have had.
x Discussion Forums
The forum is the place where our contributions are most readily exposed: ideas,
doubts, problems, suggestions, material, innovations, so that our partners can see them.
It is a space and a moment for genuine discussion. It is a sort of “notice board” where
messages with news or request of information are set and where answers are also
placed. The messages that have already been published are read as a normal web and
contributions and answers are sent through a form inserted in the web. But that is not all,
it is not just a static warehouse but it is a dynamic forum, a continuous discussion where
ideas are exchanged and discussed and, thus, the subject matter is improved. The great
opportunity encouraged by the discussion forum is the possibility of making contributions
in a more gentle way than making them in other synchronous tools such as chats.
A forum demands a shared knowledge of the users about the topic under
discuss and the stage of the discussion or the interrelation of crafty discussions of the
forum. Therefore, a forum is given the name of multilogue, a kind of dialogue in which a
person starts the conversational plot. Starting from here, the transmitter looses control
over the subsequent development of the interaction, since there is not a pre-defined turn-
taking sequence. It is like an oral conversation, in that anyone interested in speaking
could do that at the same time and, though its simultaneousness, all the voices can be
heard clearly. We can even say that its use is not common in the first and second level of
instruction; we think that it is a powerful tool for the development of some abilities in the
x To make questions
x To develop the critical spirit.
x To develop abilities in order to argue the points of view.
x To learn to “listen” and respect the different opinions about the same
In the academic scope, asynchronous practice, which is typical in virtual forums,
a forum allows the students to articulate their ideas and opinions, placed in different
spaces and times, promoting different discussion sources, and thus, learning through
different means of intervention. The interchange of works, the observation and the
commentaries about the work of partners, facilitates the cooperation and improves the
learning procedures. Groups can actively participate throughout the lifespan of the forum,
share documents and other resources, in order to get ready for collaborative and team
based presentations. At the same time, everybody can observe the behaviour of pupils,
which will represent a pattern for further interventions.
The work cadence in forums invites us to inspect documents in order to argue
the ideas and read continuously the input of our interlocutors, which implies a huge
commitment with the knowledge they acquire and also implies a large amount of time
and dedication on the part of pupils. In this way, asynchronous communication tools
imply intellectual challenges for students, in addition to those challenges referred to
through use of the tool itself.
Like any proposal, and the way we have previously discussed with chat, working with
forums also requires some degree of planning on part of the teacher and continuous
coordination during its development. This is so because participation does not occur by
magic, but must be stimulated, and we must build the proper conditions for it. It is also
necessary that, from the coordination-moderation, some guidelines and criteria be
established and that inputs according to forum objectives are maintained.
When planning a forum it is important to clear up the context of the theme and the
objectives in order to best facilitate their achievement. It is also important to define the
starting and ending time and the rules and roles assumed by each participant. Who is the
coordinator, the pupil or the possibility of the participation of some expert in the specific
Since they are academic forums, it means, with learning goals. Furthermore, they must
admit and promote the expressions of concerns which permit one to identify and propose
discussion categories estimating or accrediting different proposals in order to strengthen
and develop the argument and reflexive ability of the participants.
The coordinator-moderator of the forum has to organize ideas previously that his/her
intervention provides the elements that guide the discussion towards main issues. At the
same time, his/her mission is about invigorating the discussion with contradictory
questions or providing the foundation for some kind of conflict with other lines of
argumentation in such a way that a real discussion about the topics is produced.
His/her mission is also to stimulate the participation of everybody avoiding that the forum
be frequented by ”passive” participants that only read the posts of others and but do not
feel it necessary to reveal their own arguments.
Every so often, the moderator must accomplish some kind of synthesis of the input from
discussion of the members in order to be aware of the questions that have been
analysed and the subsequent argumentations that have arisen. At this point it is
important to supervise that pupils really record their participation and help them to
advance with “common sense” towards more theoretic knowledge about the issues
As a synthesis, we evaluate some questions that must be taken into account in the
x To be focused in contributive features for the discussion
x To point out possible concepts that have been approached in the dialogue
x To identify conceptual areas that demand consideration.
x To evaluate the social and argumentative content of the discussion.
x To classify ideas according to its relevance valuing every message.
x To mention key comments of the participants underlining essential concepts
x To identify the interest, motivation and general features of contemplation.
x To find potential meanings and to suggest the direction of dialogue.
x To interweave and integrate ideas that appears at first to be irrelevant.
x To recover coherent and contradictory items.
x To point out potential concepts that has been approached in the dialogue.
x To use narrations in order to point out lines for further contemplation.
Some examples about the use of these tools may be the following:
x Discussions about cases that are interesting for the course.
x Role-plays where every student or group defends positions according to the
roles that have been previously appointed.
x Teamwork production of schemes
x To propose hypothesis in order to make conjectures
x Brainstorm for the approach of themes
x Discussion group, moderated by an student, about a polemical and specific item
x Teamwork building of cases, stories, situations and hypothesis.
III. Problem solving projects
This refers to the use of Internet as a main resource for tackling or solving
problems. In this sense, it is possible to combine information search and communication
resources with proposals that have been especially constructed for use in Internet and
offers the possibility of conducting group work tasks between pupils and teachers from
different places that can build their learning together.
Projects of collaborative learning of this kind include those where students
exchange information with one another or with professionals from different places
throughout the world, either for the observation of a particular topic with an interactive
web-site, taking part in that activity, or for the information about commercial sites where
pupils can examine prices of different things in order to compare, analyse and evaluate
developing mathematical abilities.
One clear example this type of collaborative work is formed by the WebQuests.
WebQuests are modular proposals created by a group operating out of the University of
Virginia. They are online curriculum freely available to be used by teachers. They are
aimed at problem-solving tasks that pupils have to investigate in order to achieve a
solution. They intend that pupils learn about real topics and problems. Generally, they
propose cooperative activities where students assume different roles. For this, the main
tool is Internet, although it is possible to use another kind of multimedia or textual
resource. A WebQuest provides the structure of research and proposes that pupils can
properly operate in such a disorganized environment like Internet. Students must
develop their product and show how they have gone about solving the problem.
Every WebQuest has the following parts:
1. Introduction: provides the main information about its content.
2. Questions that have to be solved
3. All the information that has to be searched in order to solve the problem. Some
information can be included in the WebQuest or can be found by means of the
contact with experts’ online, research in databases, books or other documents.
Since the searching items are included in the document, the student is not
confused in his/her search.
4. The description of the procedure made by pupils in order to complete the
problem that has to be solved. They can be described in different stages.
5. Some reference about how to organize the information that has been found. This
implies include forms, the addresses to make an arranged framework of the
search and a timetable of the work, schemes, cause and effect diagrams, etc.
6. Deductions: it is the end of the WebQuest, it stimulates the pupil to identify what
has he/she learnt and extend his/her experience to another matters or situations.
On the other hand, as well as the WebQuest, the use of simulations has shown
significant development, most recently being supported by international projects that are
financed by the European Union via the Socrates project. The first experiences with
international electronic simulations have occurred in the United States with the ICONS
project of the University of Maryland and the IDEALS project of the University of
The experience of Finland lays the foundations for the international simulations
developed in the framework of the SIMULAB project (Nielsen and Hever, 1998).
Accomplished within the framework of the Socrates program it has been focused in the
building and practising of simulations scripts in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark,
Belgium and Spain. The first objective has been the building of the computer program
TELSI, software based on the WWW, which integrates tools that allow designing real
communicative activities in a simulation environment. An example of this is the “Los
pueblos” (The villages), which has been designed in SIMULAB and later adapted in order
to be used in the project “Simulations via Telematics for the learning of languages”
(Sánchez, 1998; Trench Parera 2001).
In “Los pueblos” students of every participating classroom play the role of the habitants
of a little village of a country where the target language is spoken. The first stage
consists of the information search about the region in order to describe the village and its
people. In the second stage students use the target language to communicate through
Internet with the habitants of other “villages”, greet them, trade with them, conduct
common projects, etc. In the beginning the PC is used to search information but later is
an instrument that enables communication.
d. Experiences using online tools.
We include in this section, teachers stories that are developing projects which
incorporate online tools. We consider that it is relevant to know the thoughts made by
these teachers in person and share them in order to be a learning source for others. It is
not a pattern in any way but a mirror where we can observe and analyse what is
occurring in daily situations when we develop projects which introduce ICTs.
The first story mentions the use of collaborative software, the BSCW, which is
based on CSCL technology. CSCL (Computer Supported Collaborative Learning) is an
emerging paradigm of groupware applications in educational environments especially
those focused in learning. It appears as an answer to the need of mediating the
procedures directed to the cognitive development of the person who is learning (Pea,
1994) and it is, probably, one of the most improved areas in Computer supported
instruction. (Koshmann,1996). This technology has been used in many educational
environments considering the classroom as a social environment where the most
common and unpredictable interactions of the persons who are learning are presented
As an emerging paradigm, CSCL is in the middle or intersection of aspects of the
educational practise (where social and individual nature emanates); the psychological
aspect (based on constructivism); and the facilities provided by New Technologies of
Information and Communication (Vanderbilt, 1993).
In this way, CSCL tries to connect internal and external variables between the
social environment of learning and the person who learns. Besides, it intends to add the
use of ICTs, which means an added value for the interrelation of the mentioned
As can be observed, even CSCL includes the use of PC nets; its vision goes
beyond of the problem of time and space. CSCL enlarges its perspective in the
applications through the PC. It means, it is deeply connected to the daily work
procedures in the classroom (Crook, 1998). In this sense we can note an important
difference of common electronic tools used in distance training, moreover, CSCL
proposes places specialized in learning problems in the classroom, where time and
space variables can exist.
e. An experience with collaborative work environments
Carlos de Paz,
IES A Sardiñeira, A Coruña
Every year we are proposing new issues. The chance of using a collaborative
environment as a complement of actual learning has been established in the first position
of our task table in the moment in which we were conscious of its existence. We are
searching the proper placement. As a result it is in the formal educational cycles,
probably because availability and need have coincided.
Availability? The insertion of new ways of doing things does not occur from
morning to night. Curriculum programs impose a cadence and it is not easy to change
the tempo. Computer resources are still a limited resource in many schools. Limited,
badly attended and often without operating ability.
Necessity? Accessibility to the net on the part of many pupils is still reduced to
the time they are actually in the secondary school. Technical obstacles and time
distribution of the computer classroom obstruct the development of activities alternating
hours and inserting others.
Being aware of the contradictions, obstacles, uncertainties and even incredulity
of pupils, we faced the introduction of this innovative support tool for learning in the
academic course year 2001-2002. Since then, yearly, two new shared places have been
created for the groups of educational cycles “Laboratory” and “Analysis and Control”, as
well as another one for pupils of Biology (in the second academic year of high school)
The use of BSCW space has been growing with the same cadence. Since the
course of its introduction, we have passed from having a private space so that we can
put interesting information for the members of each group, to the use of the space not
only like a data
container but also like
an information vehicle
and even for an
evaluating one. Pupils
not only receive but
information to the
space through reports
and entries in
Besides, some of them began to use the system for creating their own collaboration
groups with other users which they incorporate into BSCW.
Nowadays, every place that has been created since 2001-2002 is still active,
obviously with a declining number of entries, as is the case of the oldest. We continue
using BSCW, for example, to inform our former pupils about the job offers, grants and
convocation notices of competitive examinations of which we are informed in the school.
For the pupils the results help to keep them calm, knowing that they have an link with
their education period, even more when it can cover, partially at least, that vacuum that is
transformed into the main concern of people that end a training period which is comes
prior to a work placement.
For teachers, the observation of interest on the part of pupils means a reason for
being satisfied. The shared space has served a clear rational also out of normal school
hours, it has enabled the delivery of distance work, It has allowed the qualifications in the
precise moment that the evaluation and correction was concluded to be placed privately
online, it has enabled a way of staying in contact during holiday periods and it has
distributed information to any person who was interested in obtaining it. Moreover, we
keep on confirming the use of the system and it has mad an obvious improvement on
abilities to use PCs of many users.
The first obstacles have been worthwhile. As a remedy for the people who are
still joining us and for those who are getting out of trouble we keep on …going out so that
we can enter again.
f. Using an eJournal.
Jose Manuel Garcia
CEIP Emilia Pardo Bazán, A Coruña
The story began in the academic year 2002-2003 my school was introduced to
the tools Magazine and eJournal and the project Comenius 2 “IPM tools”, in which
CEFORE and several pilot schools of this province was involved. Due to the
collaborative work developed in my school, the wish of participating was growing. The
teachers that took part in a Training Project about ICTs in the school decided to learn
more about these magazines and to work with them. During the sessions “Use of an
electronic tool: the eJournal” organized by CEFORE, I learnt to operate with the
electronic journal and I knew about the publishing opportunities and the advantages of
the net in order to display the resulting works and activities of pupils and teachers.
At the beginning of December 2004 we were in possession of a journal
(http://ejournal.eduprojects.net/CEIPpardobazan and from then on we began to practice
working on our magazine, firstly in a private way and later openly. The first article that
was published dates from January 2004. Since that date until now we have a total of
sixty articles published.
In order to get organized
with the building up of the journal
we decided to make a writing
team constituted by three editors,
fourteen reliable writers and the
participating pupils as editors.
Editors-in-chief took charge of the
design and the composition of the
journal as well as the decisions
about publishing articles written
by reliable writers and editors.
In order to achieve the publishing deadlines I must say that, firstly, the time
dedicated to the training about the operating of an electronic tool (eJournal) was about
two or three hours per day, so that we could later control the build up of an article.
Nowadays, we dedicate twenty or thirty minutes in every article, at the utmost, depending
on the amount and kind of information that it includes (texts and images).
The participation of pupils in the publication of the journal has changed according
to their age stage (from 3 to 12 years old). The youngest took part making pictures or
short written works that, after its computer process, were added to the different articles,
both by reliable writers and editors. The eldest pupils took part writing texts with word
processing machines that later would be processed according to the design and
composition made by reliable editors.
The use of the eJournal for our school meant the ability to make real the use of
ICTs in our school by means of an outside opening and the worldwide divulgation of the
activities of the school. The success of an eJournal rests basically in the promptness of
the news, since an article can be released the same day in which the news occurs. This
fact enables, with the use of the Internet and the information in an article, to reach the
most remote places of the planet, allowing an interaction between different persons
independently of their location. For the school it means a window for the activities of the
pupils, teachers and pupils´ parents associations where they can show a piece of the
school life of the school.
Particularly, as a teacher of the physical training area, it has improved the work
that I was developing, both in classroom and in the complementary activities field that
pupils make in the leisure time of their break times. With the eJournal I can always get
the information wherever I am (School, home, public library). The eJournal has a
resources library where, distributed in different thematic files, every teacher can add
texts, photographs or motion images without the need of transporting disks CD-Rom or
printed documents. The possibility of publishing or modifying an article both in the school
and at home makes the work easier for every participant of the journal.
The interest of teachers of my school emerged by putting into practice the
phrase: “A picture is worth more than
a thousand words”. The progressive
appearance of different articles
referred to environments of school
and the facility of its elaboration
increased the number of articles
published. In our school’s journal we
work both individually and
collectively, since many of the
articles published are works made by classroom groups and others belong to individual
The evaluation of the experience of using an eJournal is highly positive and,
therefore, an increase in the number of teachers that have taken part in the project for
the academic year 2004-05, at which point, moreover, our school reaches the age of 25
At of the moment of writing, the number of visits in the journal was 6737
Instituto Adormireras. A Coruña
The high school of Adormideras, in A Coruña, has taken part in the European project
about new technologies SAELN (Students Across Europe Language Network) since
1995. The project lies in the establishing of periodic videoconferences, not only with
pupils of high schools in Newcasttle, but also with Hamburg (Germany) for practising with
English and German respectively, languages which are taught within the school. Even
they find that this communication means can be a little cold and artificial, but when they
meet their interlocutors the communication gets more fluid. It is a good chance to
practise the language in a real context with young people who are of the same age, and
have similar knowledge and interests about a foreign language. It is an outlet or window
and a chance for proving that knowledge acquired in the classroom has a real and
The original idea of participating emerged from a proposal made by a school in England
(Monkseaton High School) and the interest of teachers of our high school in the use of
new technologies in the classroom settings. The teams for the performance of the project
and its financing were provided by the English school and in our high school a small
classroom was dedicated to the installation of the required infrastructure. The
technological endowment of the centre: telephone lines, Internet connection, PCs,
projection tube, etc, has made possible the integration of these technologies in the
classroom, not only with languages but also with drawing, arts, sciences, etc.
In videoconferences that have been carried out during these years, pupils of every cycle
and age have taken part and they have changed their way of participating: contacts in
the leisure time of pupils, contacts in the classroom time with the help of supporting
If we have to evaluate a project we must say that, during this time, it has been working
with different luck and from the miscalculation we have learnt that the following is very
x To have defined objectives and a previous training of the pupils for the tasks
they are going to perform, like the approach to a conversation topic, the
obtaining of data, inquiries, interchange of information about cultural
information, festivities, etc. so that pupils can contrast them with their own
x To have a proper coordination between the schools in order to establish a
connection timetable that has to be complied.
This project has also strengthened the European dimension of education, it has put
teachers into contact with the partner schools, not only those of the languages area, and
it has shown the working and organization of these schools. It opens the door to further
European projects like Comenius projects.
h. Using WebQuest.
Isabel Pérez Torres
I teach English as a foreign language in a Secondary school in Málaga, a well-known
town in the South of Spain. Since 1996 I have put into practice several activities using
computers (word processor activities, electronic dictionaries, Hot Potatoes exercises,
treasure hunts, projects, WebQuests, etc.). My approach has been mostly an eclectic
one, that is, I have used the computer as a tutor and as a tool and also in a reproductive
and a constructive way. For instance, I have used authentic material from the Web in
combination with exercises using a word processor or Hot Potatoes exercises (as you
can see in the following example http://www.isabelperez.com/lion3.htm). In sum, I have
done everything that, in my opinion, was going to produce some improvement from the
linguistic point of view.
Among constructivist activities, my favourite ones are WebQuests and, since 1999 I have
carried out a few of them with students in 4º of ESO. This experience has made me
understand better the following two aspects: a) the process of designing the WebQuest
and b) how to put it into practice in a normal classroom setting.
The WebQuests I have carried out have normally lasted four or five sessions Part of the
work took place in the computer room and part of it had to be done at home like any
As an example I can analyse the WebQuest I did in spring 2002
. The selection of the
theme was easy because at that time there was great expectation about the Spanish
singer Rosa, who was going to take part in Eurovision 2002. This was exactly the kind of
motivation that students needed to carry out a language activity with interest and
enthusiasm. The task consisted in organizing a party to celebrate Rosa’s participation in
This WebQuest can be seen on http://www.isabelperez.com/rosaparty.htm
Eurovision. It implied searching and evaluating a lot of information about people, places,
food, etc., and then they had to design a tourist tour in the city of Barcelona for three
days, before the final big party. My students had to decide as well about the guests,
explaining why they had been invited and everything they were going to do during their
stay. This WebQuest was inserted into the curriculum when we were revising the future
tenses in English. At the same time, as WebQuests are good example of content based
learning activities, I took advantage of this and planned Rosa’s WebQuest as an excuse
to practise the description of people and places. The process of doing the task was faced
enthusiastically by my students because they were very involved in the activity; in fact,
this has been one of the most successful WebQuest I have ever carried out and, I think it
was due in part to the students’
involvement in the theme.
That time I learnt that motivation is
a critical element in a WebQuest.
So, deciding on the theme and the
task is the most crucial part of the
designing process. This is not
always so easy, it depends on
many factors: the students, the
contents we want to teach, the availability of time and space, etc. Then, when it’s time to
put it into practice, the WebQuest develops itself and in many occasions the process and
the final product are quite different to what we planned originally. In our case, the final
reports differed meaningfully, but all of them were well done. That is the magic of
teaching and learning in a constructivist manner and the WebQuest model fits that well.
Carrying out this WebQuest helped my students manage lots of information and become
ready to a new way of learning and living. They surely enjoyed doing Rosa’s WebQuest.
There were some problems, especially with the English language, but on the whole my
students and I thought that it had been a good learning experience.
Even though we cannot talk about final conclusions it is necessary to synthesize,
somehow, what we have developed in this work. To point out those questions which,
from our point of view, are relevant for the integration of ICTs in school and, in particular,
for web materials. We consider that it is not an easy task and schools and teachers must
make a significant effort of recovery to face the challenges imposed by the XXI century
society. In this work our objective proposed to give some signs, guides and work
experiences referred to what we have mentioned before. We insist that they are not
patterns or criteria that have to be carried to the letter, but some examples which get
better and better every day and can help us to think about the didactic implications that
comes with working with these kinds of tools.
Therefore, we dedicated a section in order to leave space for the “voices” of the
teachers, who have kindly offered to contribute with this text, giving their own experience
in order to allow this be a starting point for the learning of others by means of criticism
and reflection. The web and the communication tools that it introduces have not been
conceived from or for the school but they can be transformed into powerful instruments
for the learning of cooperative and critical training strategies. Our intention has been to
give them the chance of thinking about it and analysing all its possibilities - moreover of
e-mail, proving every tool called “supertool” in our sub-heading - referring to the
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CAN BE OBTAINED FROM
Institute for Educational Research
University of Jyväskylä
P.O. Box 35 (Keskussairaalantie 2)
40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Phone +358 14 260 3220
Fax +358 14 260 3241
ISBN 951-39-2000-3 (printed version)
ISBN 951-39-2003-8 (PDF)
INNOVATIVE PEDAGOGICAL METHODS to integrate web based tools
into learning and teaching, a Comenius 2.1 project (Socrates action)
in 1.10.2001–30.9.2004 in six participating countries:
• Finland: Institute for Educational Research (University of Jyväskylä),
Coordinating unit together with Vitikkala School and Oy UniServices Ltd
• Estonia: Tiger Leap Foundation and Tallinn Pedagogical University/
Faculty of Educational Sciences
• Lithuania: The Centre of Information Technology for Education
• Norway: Sogn og Fjordane University College
• Slovenia: Srednja ekonomska sola Maribor
• Spain: The Training and Research Centre, A Coruña and Centro Público
Integrado 'O Cruce' Cerceda.
Project co-ordinators: Sonja Kurki and Pentti Pirhonen
The three years activities focused to improve teachers' readiness and skills
to adapt new technologies. This was done by organising national seminars
to the pilot school teachers and supporting them in finding new and
motivating teaching and learning methods with web-based tools.
SHARING AND DEVELOPING
The four international seminars gave an opportunity for participants
to share innovations, good experiences and to learn from one another.
According to the pilot school teachers' feedback their ICT skills improved
during the project duration and they could expand teaching and
THE OUTCOMES INCLUDE:
• homepage of the project and national websites
• four international seminars and around 30 national events
• eight new language versions of Peda.net Web Magazine
• thousands of articles and teaching and learning material
in web magazines
• two CD-ROMs of examples of good practices
• a booklet of guidelines to use web-based tools
• a study report on the impact of a qualitative study of ICT
and school culture
• Comenius 2.2 in-service teacher training course, etc.
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